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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Too Good to Be True? Beat 'em at their Own Game





With UDL's emphasis on the use of technology comes a world of possibilities. However, with good also comes the consequences of technology use, primarily in the form of cheating and plagiarism. Students are going to extremes to turn in that term paper. It's no longer just asking an intelligent classmate to write your paper for a few bucks. It's copying and pasting an article from the Internet and many teachers never find out.

Whole industries exist to sell papers. Sites like: http://www.blogger.com/www.termpaperwriter.org, http://www.essaysareeasy.com/, and http://www.mywritingexpert.net/ are sites where students can buy papers.

The statistics are scary too. According to a U.S. News and World Report:




  • 80% of "high-achieving" high school students admit to cheating.


  • 51% of high school students did not believe cheating was wrong.



  • 95% of cheating high school students said that they had not been detected.



  • 75% of college students admitted cheating, and 90% of college students didn't believe cheaters would be caught.



  • Almost 85% of college students said cheating was necessary to get ahead.


If think that your students are not plagiarising, they probably are. So how can we counteract this culture of cheating? Many software companies have created anti-plagiarism software. But what can you do if funds are tight?




Here are some options for you:





  • The Plagiarism Checker offers a free plagiarism checker, allowing teachers to copy and paste a questionable text into a text box. If you became a premium member (money required), you could upload Word documents directly to the site.


  • Article Checker works the same way as The Plagiarism Checker with a few differences. Users can choose to compare the questionable text to a Google and Yahoo search. It also gives you the opportunity to compare to a website in question.


Here are some other sites:





Personally, I found The Plagiarism Checker more accurate. I copied and pasted a paragraph into Article checker and it did not appear to be plagiarised. However, I copied and pasted the same paragraph into The Plagiarism Checker and I received 5 possible incidents of plagiarism. I was able to click on a link, which took me to a Google search, where these questionable texts appeared.



The biggest way to prevent plagiarism is to be proactive and educate students on what is acceptable and unacceptable (something we already do). There are great sites out there that can help you:





  • http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/wp/copyright-2002/lessonplanfaqs.html offers lesson plans for elementary, middle school, and high school students. The site was created by students from the University of Illinois and offers great information!


  • http://www.plagiarism.org/ is another great site that defines plagiarism and gives several resources on how to prevent it. It has a section devoted to FAQ's of plagiarism as well as the different types of plagiarism.

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